Sunderland Software City launches 2020 Strategy at Downing Street event

Sunderland Software City set out ambitious plans to accelerate the growth of the North East’s software industry at a prestigious event at 10 Downing Street today.

The regional partnership initiative has launched its 2020 strategy which sets out how the region’s software and technology sector will develop and grow over the next seven years.

The strategy explores the ways Sunderland Software City can utilise the support of its public, private and academic sector partners to increase the number of software companies starting up and relocating to the region, which in turn will result in the creation of new jobs and increased contribution to the local economy.

Sunderland Software City’s overall vision is to establish an internationally recognised software industry centred in Sunderland and benefiting the wider North East. The region will be home to innovative businesses, a destination of choice for global software brands and a vibrant hub for a highly skilled software workforce.

The strategy details how the Sunderland Software City partnership will support the vision that by 2020 the North East will be home to 2,200 software companies who will employ over 15,000 people and contribute nearly £1.1bn to the regional economy.

This will represent a 59 per cent increase in the number of software businesses established in the region and a 53 per cent increase in capital contributions to the local economy.

At the heart of the initiative, the City of Sunderland will benefit from three times the number of software businesses operating out of the city, providing employment for an additional 3000 people.

Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council said: “Sunderland is right at the heart of a region that boasts the biggest cluster of technology companies outside of London, proof that businesses in the sector thrive here.

“The growth the city has seen in the sector to date is an encouraging sign that we’re delivering the right results. The work we have undertaken in Sunderland really is pioneering and our presence at national showcase events such as this represents an excellent chance for us to share success, learn from others and hopefully build links with key industry players who can help further our vision of being a city that is right at the cutting edge.”

Sunderland Software City launched the strategy at the first UK Tech & Business Cluster Summit which took place today at 10 Downing Street and brings together invited leaders and representatives from key technology clusters from around the country to discuss the challenges facing the industry and opportunities to facilitate greater cooperation across the UK’s technology community.

The summit was chaired by Tech City Chief Executive Joanna Shields, who is the UK’s Business Ambassador for Digital Industries and the Prime Minister’s Business Adviser Tim Luke and was attended by representatives from other key UK technology clusters including London, Bristol and Manchester.

Sunderland Software City Chief Executive David Dunn presented the 2020 strategy for supporting and growing the region’s software businesses to an audience of business leaders, government officials and sector support organisations from across the UK.

The strategy highlights Sunderland Software City’s aims to build on its successes to date, supporting the creation of 800 new software companies and an additional 5600 jobs by 2020.

David Dunn said: “The North East already boasts an impressive reputation as a location of choice for international software businesses. Since 2009, Sunderland Software City has helped to grow the regions software industry, providing support to help existing businesses grow and innovate and creating the right environment to help more businesses to start-up and trade across international markets.

“In order to build on these achievements, we believe it is vital to establish a clear, long term vision for the region’s software sector which focuses on its key strengths and addresses the barriers which can inhibit the growth of the vibrant and innovative businesses which operate in it.

“The 2020 strategy establishes the foundations of what we envisage will be a strategically important sector for the North East, attracting investment, generating growth and jobs and delivering vast economic benefits for years to come.”

James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce said: “Sunderland Software City has broken new ground in recent years and continues to help nurture and develop a sector that is becoming increasingly important to the North East economy.

“This strategy will help maximise its unique offer and hopefully benefit the North East enormously in years to come.”

As well as setting out three key aims of creating more companies, more jobs and increased financial revenues, the strategy also sets out how the Sunderland Software City partnership will address the national shortage of skilled software developers through engagement with education and pioneering initiatives such as the Coders Academy, which identifies and provides training and employment opportunities for young people who exhibit the characteristics of good developers.

The UK Tech & Business Cluster Summit is the latest in a line of prestigious events where Sunderland Software City has been invited to discuss their vision for the future of software in the North East. Last year Sunderland Software City was invited to take part in a Parliamentary report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications on the future of government broadband policy and the partnership recently took part in a panel discussion alongside Peter Vesterbacka, the CMO of Angry Bird’s creator Rovio Entertainment at SXSW, the world’s biggest annual software and technology summit where the Coders Academy was widely praised as a forward thinking solution to the global shortage of software developers.
Notes:

  • The Sunderland Software City 2020 Strategy is a seven year strategy which outlines how Sunderland Software City and its partners intend to grow the software industry in Sunderland and the North East.
  • The 2020 Strategy was developed in wide consultation with partners in the public, private and academic sectors.
  • Sunderland Software City (SSC) is a strategic partnership, part funded by Sunderland City Council and the European Regional Development Fund, between the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), Sunderland City Council and the University of Sunderland.
  • The Sunderland Software City project is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-2013 is bringing over £300m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region.

The Sunderland Software City 2020 Strategy can be viewed by clicking the following link: Sunderland Software City Strategy Document